Roast new potatoes with sweet onion

A comment the other day complained that English potatoes are sweet and powdery things, not worth cooking with. I beg to differ; six months of living and cooking in Paris convinced me that the English potato is a glorious beast, not bettered anywhere in the world. No American or Asian potato has yet made me think otherwise.

Tiny, young new potatoes are just appearing in the shops now; they’re dense, they’re waxy and there’s nothing sweet or powdery about them. They’ve a delicate and delicious taste. When the Jersey Royals appear in April, I’ll be steaming them in their papery skins with a little tarragon, and dipping them in home-made Hollandaise. The new potatoes in shops at the moment also steam deliciously, but it’s worth trying this recipe to bathe them with the sweet, sticky roasting juices from a couple of onions. No garlic in this one; you want the flavour of the onions to sing on its own. Anchovies give this side dish a deep and remarkably non-fishy background which complements the onion flavour; if you are an anchovy-hater (shame on you), leave them out. You’ll need:

500g new potatoes
2 large onions
Salt (I used Steenbergs’ Perfect Salt, which also contains some dried herbs)
3 anchovies
2 tablespoons olive oil or duck/goose fat

Halve the potatoes and drop them into boiling water for eight minutes. Drain and transfer to a baking tray. Quarter the onions and separate each quarter into layers. Mix the potatoes, onions, anchovies, salt, pepper and fat well and put in an oven at 180°C for 45 minutes, or until everything is golden and fragrant.

5 Replies to “Roast new potatoes with sweet onion”

  1. The great potatoe debate continues…
    I’ll definately give this dish a try and will report back my findings in a day or two. And I object to being called a buffoon – a boff un maybe. In the interests protecting myself from possible lawsuits from EPLs (English Potatoe Lovers) I must point out that I am not a food critic and any opinions I may offer are purely that: opinions. No potatoes were harmed in the making of this comment 😉

  2. Due to acute tonsillitis I am currently nil by mouth, and am salivating over your blog as a nun might over porn. (Without the sneaking fear of eternal hellfire and damnation, and knowing that I will be able to indulge in a few days. Not like a nun reading porn at all, really, then.)

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